A girls weekend away is essential for our sanity and that of our men. When you all live on a Greek island where do you go for a weekend away? We decided to head to Fethiye in the Muğla province of Turkey.
There’s a regular connection by hydrofoil and ferries between the Dodecanese island of Rhodes and several different locations in Turkey, including Marmaris, Datça and Fethiye.
Visa requirements for Turkey can change, at the moment we don’t need a visa for a day trip arriving by ferry but do if it’s over 72 hours. It was very easy to apply for online for our visas, they cost $20 and were valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days. in a 180 day period. Find out more on the official Turkish e-Visa site.
The trip across on the hyrdrofoil is an experience in itself. (I love the fact that google maps thinks we are walking there!)
We arrived at the International ferry port nice and early to collect our tickets from the booth. Just sitting having chatting and watching people turn up it felt like the holiday had started.
There’s a small gift shop and cafe with a shaded terrace to wait in.
Once we’d got our tickets and were through passport control we headed for the little duty free shop.
Tip: You can’t get duty free in Turkey on the way back as they don’t have a shop, buy what you want on the way out of Rhodes.
With our duty free bags and and weekend bags we headed onto the Flying Poseidon. At this point I’d better explain that I had my ankle and knee in supports having fallen off a pavement a week earlier and my friend Donna was recovering from a knee operation.
We arrived hobbling a little and the staff were brilliant. They helped get our bags on board, hand us down the steep steps and little ramp, any suitcases and large bags are stored at the front until you disembark. Inside the ship is more like a plane, with rows of seats.
We headed to the back, through a slightly higher central section, that I’ve since learnt was once a viewing platform, down into a another small cabin. Finding lots of room and a table to deposit our bags we then went out onto the small back deck area.
It was a great spot to watch Rhodes harbour disappear behind us and soon we were speeding along heading closer to the coast of Turkey.
We stayed out back for a long time chatting and watching marine traffic, sharing some wine we’d brought along and chatting with the crew.
Before we knew it we could see the coast and island just outside Fethiye. In the distance there was still some snow on the mountains. The journey took an hour and a half, it felt a little bit like being in a vehicle from Thunderbirds.
Note: The hydrofoils can be cancelled at a moments notice if the weather is bad. I have also heard they often down due to maintenance as they are very old now. That said we don’t know of anyone who’s had a problem yet. Though I have heard stories of a passenger being transferred from one to the other, in the middle of the Aegean, when they managed to get on the wrong one once.
Arriving in Fethiye it’s a very steep ramp to get up off the ship. Then you go through a very small outside area where they have customs and passport control.
We were soon out and walking towards the taxi rank when we realised none of us had actually checked where the hotel was. We’d all assumed someone else would know where we were going. We really were in holiday mode.
We asked a very bemused taxi driver if he could take us to our hotel, he smiled called a friend and they grabbed most of our luggage and walked us around the corner into an older part of the town and souq, down a short lane lined with cafe tables and chairs to the Infinity Boutique Hotel. We couldn’t have a had a friendlier start to our weekend away.
Soon we were checked in and checking out our rooms, originally there were 6 of us going but 2 had to drop out, although the hotel had been informed we only needed twin rooms we were still allocated a double and single in each room.
Though there wasn’t a huge amount of space, it was comfortable, clean and well presented with a good shower. We didn’t need anything more.
We had asked if the rooms provided tea and coffee making equipment but that never managed to translate and appear. There was a mini fridge, a good supply of toiletries in the bathrooms and a small balcony.
I quickly took a picture of the room before we wrecked it and a few snaps out on the balcony of the view.
The hotel was right in the centre of the old town and souq, really close to the main bar street and restaurants, a bar opposite at the same level as our room was busy and loud.
Each room was on a different floor at the front and though we each had times that we were kept awake, we knew about that from the reviews on Trip Advisor and so expected it.
All the staff were friendly and helpful and it had a working lift (elevator). There were chairs and tables in the alley ways at the back and front of the hotel, they were both great places to sit and people watch a little.
Breakfast was a buffet with a mix of European and Turkish food. There was always something a little spicy and great Turkish bread. Oh, and the coffee was really good.
Would I recommend the hotel? Yes, the location is fantastic if you want to wander around the old town souq area, you’re close to all the action and it was great for a girls weekend.
There was a mixture of nationalities staying at the hotel with the majority being Turkish. Over the weekend a very large group checked in who appeared to be on a college trip to the area, although it meant breakfast was busy the staff coped and there was plenty of food. It had a lively fun atmosphere with friendly helpful staff.
Things to do in Fethiye
There’s plenty of sites giving you the top 10 things to do in different places. This though is what we actually did. We were a mixed group, mixed capabilities and mixed interests. Fethiye managed to keep us all entertained for a 5 night long girls weekend away.
Well, it was a girls weekend away after all so there had to be some shopping. We’d already heard about the cheap prices in Turkey compared to Greece and some of us came prepared with a long list and lots of bags to store all the shopping in.
There are so many different experiences and ways to shop in Fethiye that it’s got a post of all its own, check out my guide to shopping in Fethiye (coming soon).
Promenading or walking
Fethiye has a wonderful long promenade that runs all the way to Çalış. We really enjoyed walking along the area, clean and well looked after, it’s a broad with plenty of room for walkers, cyclists and dogs.
There is good selection of restaurants, parks and fountains. Lots of benches under white pergolas with pink bougainvillaea to sit and watch the world go by. Beautiful Turkish boats and turtles if you’re lucky.
There was a war memorial right on the harbour, beautifully carved and decorated. Close by were huge white ballerinas were dancing in fountains near the cultural centre of Fethiye.
Not far away we also found the town square with its statue of Atatürk with a famous quote of his “Ne mutlu Türküm diyene.” (How happy is the one who can call himself a Turk.)
We found a pelican along the way and the dog watering stations. We saw several dogs around the area, that had ear tags and collars and all appeared to well fed and looked after. I later found out that the ear tags mean they’ve been picked by an animal charity who neuter them and give them vaccinations.
The weather was great for walking, a little cloud cover kept it a little cooler, though it was still warm enough for shorts.
I can imagine that the place gets very hot in the height of summer as the whole bay is very well protected. There was also lots of wandering to do around the bazaar area of the old town, find out more about that over on my piece all about shopping in Fethiye (coming soon).
Visit the Tomb of Amyntas
Carved into the side of the hills above the city are the Lycian Tombs, easy to access and a great morning out, check my picture post of the Fethiye tombs with a little history thrown in (coming soon).
Take a water taxi from Fethiye to Çalış
We took the water taxi across to Çalış (I think it’s pronounced chalis) for lunch one day. The little boats ran from 10 am every half hour and cost us 6TL for the one way trip.
As we were there in late April early May it was very quiet and there were only 8 passengers. It was a lovely way to see the coast and arrive in Çalış.
With wonderful views of the Lycian Tombs we’d climbed to and a trip down a river, there were fishermen at the side and very little water traffic while we were there.
We found most places to be very quiet during our visit, I’d like to go back and see what it’s like when more visitors are there.
Çalış has a long pebble beach that’s popular with British tourists and the sizeable British expat population in the area. It is lined with restaurants bars and cafes. Lots of them were selling fish and chips and English breakfast.
We found a place that did traditional food and had some shade on the terrace. Although it was too early in the year for swimming it was warm enough to need sunscreen.
The empty Ottoman Greek ‘ghost town’ emptied during the population exchange of 1923 is an open air museum. Wandering around ruined houses isn’t for everyone, the joys of a girls weekend away is that you don’t have to do everything together.
2 of us visited Kayaköy while the other 2 did more shopping.
Check out my picture post on the village of Kayaköy and learn a little more about the history of the region (coming soon).
If you are going to Kayaköy or are planning on going I recommend reading Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières set in a town much like this one during the end of the Ottoman empire. (Amazon Affiliate link)
Savour Turkish food
With the mix of cultures that have always made their way the through Turkey the food is a melting pot of Mediterranean, Middle East, North African and European cuisines with a unique Turkish twist.
From their own fast food ‘pide’ a wonderful flat bread cooked on a hot stone with a choice of filling to sumptuous dishes aromatic with herbs and spices cooked slowly in pots cracked open at your table.
We loved everything about the food. We were a mixed bunch when it came to food with lots of different likes, dislikes and even foods that needed avoiding.
There was always a great selection of different food on the menus and we didn’t have a bad meal while we were there. Check out my post on places to eat in Fethiye (coming soon).
All too soon it was time for us to check out and head back to Greece.
Looking back we did so much and yet there’s still so much I’d love to explore in the area and further afield in the region. Next time I’d love to take my husband as I know he’s going to love the place and the people.
Fethiye was a great location for a girls weekend away, with lots to do, see and explore. There was something for everyone. Check out my 10 Tips for Girls Travelling to Turkey .
The trip back was on the Flying Poseidon leaving Fethiye at 9am, early morning is a great time to see any harbour with the water still and the day not yet quite awake.
We had lots of extra bags from all that shopping and the staff on the hydrofoil were very helpful getting everything on board.
Soon we were back on the back of the ship. Another hydrofoil left just after us. Passing a large island across the entrance to the bay we watched the coast disappear quickly behind us as the ship built up speed.
Getting There: we travelled late April/early May on the Flying Poseidon with Tuana Maritime. We left Rhodes at 4.30 pm and arrived in Fethiye at 6 pm. The return journey left at 9 am and arrived back in Rhodes at 10.30 am. Tickets cost €75 each.
Hotel: We stayed at the Infinitity City Boutique Hotel it worked out at €17.50 per person per night sharing 2 to a room.